Chaosium reportedly fires staff, pushes “reset button”, hires Sandy Petersen

I’ll reserve comment on this for the time being, but here’s the news from Chaosium (publisher of the CALL OF CTHULHU role-playing game):

Greg Stafford writes:

We have pressed the reset button…

In 1975 Chaosium started out as a quirky boutique game company. We were all about creativity, artistry and craftsmanship. With every game we provided you with new realms of imagination and entertainment. Over the last few years we forgot that, and lost our way.

The Great Old Ones have Returned…
Greg Stafford, founder of Chaosium and creative force during its heyday, is now President. Sandy Petersen, world renowned game designer who brought Cthulhu into the light three decades ago, has rejoined the team as well.

Greg says: “Chaosium is part of my legacy. My intent is to restore it to its rightful place in the world of gaming. Something we can all take pride in, and something that fans will look forward to.Where ‘what’s next?’ is answered with ‘I can’t wait’.”

The Stars are Right…
Sandy says: “I am excited to return to active participation in the Call of Cthulhu line, and I’m eagerly looking forward to working directly with Greg again. We are Chaosium’s original team from the 1980s. My first focus is going to be the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition Kickstarter campaign.”

Our main plan is simple (but will be a lot of work):

Quickly sift and sort through the current company problems
Immediately ship the remaining Horror on the Orient Express backer rewards
Focus on the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition Kickstarter backer rewards
Return to regularly making awesome new games.

We offer new hope, and ask only for your patience.”

Please visit Chaosium.com for regular news and updates. Contact us with questions, kudos, curses, or kindness. We are listening, and we will respond.

Greg Stafford, President and CEO of Chaosium Inc.

Quoted from here.

So, Lovecraftians: What are your thoughts?

UPDATE: I have an email from Sandy Petersen: “My personal number one focus is to get Chaosium’s kickstarter campaigns on track and you can quote me.”

23 responses to “Chaosium reportedly fires staff, pushes “reset button”, hires Sandy Petersen

  1. It’lll be interesting to see what the GOOs do with the company now. I was hoping that Chaosium would start putting out more games than fiction; having said that, I’m not sure which one, if either, is the money maker. There may have been good reasons that the previous management had a lot of short story collections coming out.

  2. It’s great news for Chaosium. The CoC RPG showed me for the first time there was more than just the D&D environment to play in. Sandy can take all the credit for that. I just hope the poor guy can keep up with his new responsibilities and keep the Cthulhu Wars Kickstarter moving as well. I’d hate to see that slip any further than it already has because he’s spread too thin.

  3. This is certainly a very bold, and somewhat sudden course. The Chaosium website had just gotten a nice facelift and it seemed that there were some great products coming out on a regular enough timeline. While there were delays in some of the kickstarter projects they were running, I don’t think they were particularly deal-breakers. But, I’m sure that whatever decisions were made, they weren’t made lightly, and I’ll be looking forward to seeing what happens in the next year ahead as everyone gets their bearings.

    • Well, the terrible (lack of) communication regarding Horror on the Orient Express put many enthusiasts off. The main reason I haven’t ordered CoC 7th Ed. (despite all the positive reviews) is that HotOE is still somewhere in France, and not here, in Budapest. 😦 I backed that project in October, 2012 as Conductor level backer. What I experienced was not what the Chaosium I knew before that project.

  4. Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu was my Inroduction to Lovecraft. It changed my life! This is most welcomed news! I will support Chaosium now more than ever nowthat Greg and Sandy are back! I look forward to the new chaosium!

  5. I love their gaming manuals and use them as reference works in writing my own weird fiction. I love those books because their authors REALLY KNOW THEIR LOVECRAFT and are quite imaginative and brilliant themselves. I wish they’d do a Sesqua Valley manual.

    • A amp of Sesqua Valley, from what you have said, would prove daunting as the streets and locations shift from time to time. Maybe if it was built in sections and tied to the movement of the stars…

    • Wilum, you should hook up with one of the good CoC designers and collaborate on a Sesqua Valley guide book. Who better than the author, himself, to describe his creations?

  6. Over the past 20 years, the Chaosium brand has been largely wasted. I look forward to a new (renewed) direction, new products, and new games!

    • That’s true until about a couple of years ago. The thing is, over the past couple of years or so, Chaosium has actually picked up and started producing some good quality stuff again. At least at a far quicker pace than they had for at least a good decade or so prior. Admittedly, most of the best of the “new” products were revamps of older products (Masks of Nyarlathotep, Horror on the Orient Express), but at least they were doing SOMETHING aside from publishing half-edited monographs. And the 7th Ed. Call of Cthulhu books are great, and gorgeous. Someone at Chaosium finally decided to make the English versions rival the awesomeness of the German versions published by Pegasus Spiele.

      I’m also kind of unaware of what the problems with the HotOE Kickstarter were. I got both my PDFs and my print books in a pretty timely fashion, and they were all great.

      I dunno, it just seems a bit odd to me that for at least a good decade, Chaosium almost might as well not have existed, but when the dragon finally begins to start waking up, they decide it’s a good time to clean house on the staff.

  7. As someone with work forthcoming in more than one Chaosium anthology, I hope they’ll keep fiction an important part of their program as well. (And, yes, I have played & do enjoy Call of Cthulhu!)

    • Pulp Cthulhu is certainly fully written and edited. I’ve been playtesting it and working on a supplement over the past year. It’s probably my favourite incarnation of Call of Cthulhu to date.

      The last I heard it was in layout. With any luck the recent changes will mean we’ll see it soon.

  8. Mike,

    I’m frankly not surprised. I’m one of the many Backers for their Kickstarter Project wgich began nearly two years ago. They’really completely behind schedule with little explanation provided during the last 24 months. Additionally, as a small business owner, I expect a certain degree of professionalism when dealing with others engaged in a similar, artistic outlet. Instead, silence…from Kranz and several others to whom I sent e-mails.

    By contrast, Sandy reached out to me when he was in the beginning stages of launching his Kickstarter Project for some tips. We exchanged several e-mails at BGG, and he was very gracious in each correspondence. Later, when I asked him for feedback on our line of Cthulhu-esque items, he proved exceptionally responsive. For Chaosium, they couldn’t get a better guy to re-join the ranks.

    Anyway, I hope the company gets its act together, returns the Kickstarter Project to some semblance of organization, and for me at least, improve customer relations.

    Cheers,
    Joe

  9. I’m excited to see what happens. I love CoC so much; it was my first experience with tabletop RPGS and I just fell in love instantly. I am hyped for Cthulhu Wars as well, and its add-on packs. Let’s see how far down this dark, multidimensional rabbit hole really goes…

  10. I’m not sure what to think, except that it couldn’t be any worse than its been over the past few years, so maybe Greg and Sandy and Ben coming back will pump enough life into the company to get it back on track. Its just a shame that the two people who truly elevated CoC to glory and heights — Lynn Willis and Keith Herber — are both gone and unable to help get it back on track.

    But as one of the old fossils of CoC, I had the pleasure of working with Sandy WAAAAYYYYY back in the day, and then Ben a little later on, and I know they are both hard working guys, so I’m hopeful.

  11. I think it would be great for Mike to get an interview with the various people involved in the “new and improved” Chaosium. It would make a good platform for them to speak about their hopes and plans for the future, and field a few questions from the public.

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